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How to Discover and Deal with a Boyfriend Who Is Controlling (9 Actionable Steps)

How to Discover and Deal with a Boyfriend Who Is Controlling (9 Actionable Steps)

As a gentle soul, having a boyfriend who is controlling can wreck the foundation of one’s existence. Controlling behavior can be described as one in which a person expects or compels or even requires another person to cater to their need at their own expense. A boyfriend who is controlling tends to dominate their partner in an unhealthy manner. Controlling behavior can come from anyone in your life, be it your spouse, parents, siblings, your boss, or even your friends and teachers. But most times, controlling behavior can be traumatic when it comes from your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

Most times, people exhibit controlling behavior just because of their selfishness or sometimes because they may have suffered from a traumatic experience themselves. Sometimes, low self-esteem can also lead to controlling behavior.

Is It Normal for a Boyfriend to be Controlling?

It is not normal or okay for your boyfriend to act controlling toward you or try to control you in any way. If your boyfriend is controlling toward you, it shows he has low self-esteem, and that kind of person can also be emotionally, verbally, and even physically abusive toward you.

There are a lot of reasons why your boyfriend can be controlling toward you. It could be that he is jealous, possessive, or he just simply has low self-esteem issues. It sometimes may be because someone hurt him before, and does not want to take such chances again.

How to Tell if Your Boyfriend is a Control Freak:

1. When Love Becomes a Reward

If your boyfriend constantly attaches conditions to his love, then he might just be another controlling fella. Sometimes he uses words like, “I will only love you if you get it done”, or “I will love you if only you get a job”, or sometimes he will tell you “I will love you more if you can just act the way I want you to act.” Most times this behavior can lead a woman into believing that they are not worthy and they do not deserve love. 

2. You no longer spend time with your friends and family

When in a relationship, you have to spend time and be extremely committed to your partner, but it should become extremely bothersome when you no longer have time to chill and relax with your girls or have enough time to pay a visit to your parents. Your boyfriend may be controlling when he no longer wants you to hang out with your family or friends; he gets angry anytime you are not with him or over every little time you spend with others. He wants to isolate you from your family, by trying to convince you they do not mean well for you or that the distance will do more good than harm to you. These sorts of relationship problems will only add to your stress levels.

3. You are always the one apologizing 

When you are always the one apologizing to your boyfriend for all the wrongs in the relationship both for the ones you did and the ones he did, then there is something wrong in the relationship. Your boyfriend is always making you feel that everything you do is wrong and you always have the need to apologize to him for every little thing. Your boyfriend is always making you feel like you are not committed enough to the relationship, this is just a way of having control over you and the relationship.

4. You keep secrets from him 

You are always hiding innocent things from him. And that could mean you are scared to tell him you met innocently with a friend, or that you hung out with friends from work. This should be seen as a huge red flag. If you can’t confide in your partner for fear that he may react the wrong way, then this might just be a sign that he is controlling and you are scared of him.

5. He is never wrong

He is handsome, cute, and has a way with people which makes you happy on the inside, gladdened by the belief that you hit the jackpot. But he may have just one character flaw, it is always his way or no way at all. He never admits when he is wrong or accepts that he does not know something, during every disagreement he must always win. He is constantly telling you what is good for you and that you should follow his directions. This might just be another big billboard sign to display his controlling idiosyncrasies.

6. He holds grudges

Your boyfriend always remembers the one time you couldn’t make the date or the one time you did something wrong. He always wants to keep scores as ammo to be used later in the future, especially during an argument. He does something wrong and uses your past mistake as leverage for his failings. Well, this just shows he is controlling and he might even be abusive toward you also.

7. Lack of privacy 

If he does creepy things like: demands your password, checks your social media, wants to fervently know what you spend your money on, goes through your call log to see who calls you, or always wants to know where you are at all times, searches your bag, then he is exhibiting controlling tendencies.

A controlling boyfriend not letting go

9. He criticizes every little thing

Are you in a relationship where everything you do is always criticized? Or where you can never get anything right? He complains about the way you cook, make the bed, and the way you even walk. My dear, your boyfriend might just be controlling you.

10. He treats you like a child

When you are with your man, he makes you feel like a child and not the mature adult you are and should be. He makes you feel like you can’t make any decisions. You man takes your opinion for granted, and sometimes scolds or ridicules you in front of others. He never allows you to make your choices, or even have a say in the relationship. Well if your boyfriend constantly behaves this way, then he might just have trouble letting go of his desire to control you.

A partner with a controlling attitude is toxic to both your relationship and your mental health

A relationship where all powers belong to one person is not healthy. Neither is it safe when your boyfriend is too controlling, it can affect your relationship in various negative ways. 

One of such ways is that such a relationship becomes increasingly toxic and unbearable. You can no longer have the freedom to love your boyfriend the way you want. You no longer hang out with friends or sometimes your boyfriend can be increasingly choking and you might begin to love him less and less.

Having a boyfriend with a controlling attitude can also affect your mental health in a very toxic and unhealthy way. You can easily become depressed and unhappy. This might even make you end up needing therapy after the relationship ends.  You might feel increasingly drained and tired all the time. When your boyfriend is around you, your self-esteem drops to an all-time low and you are always walking on thorny carpets, with the consciousness of avoiding his venom. When your partner is not around, you feel much better. Well if you notice any of these symptoms, it might mean that your mental health is being affected greatly, and it might be best for you to leave that toxic bond before your mental health is affected beyond repair.

How to survive a controlling boyfriend

1. Try to reason with your partner:

 When your partner is increasingly controlling, do not just give in, try to talk to them calmly, and let them know why it is important for you to have your way. Try as much as possible not to raise your voice, talk calmly. By talking to your partner calmly, you can understand his reason for not wanting to do what you want. But most times as with controlling people, their reasons might just be lame and not make any sense, so it is best for you to take a stand and not let him have his way.

2. Try not to fight back:

 It may not be easy to hold yourself back and not fight back, but you have to try to remain calm and try to get him to see your point of view. Also, make him understand that it is not okay for him to make all the important decisions alone. Let him know that his word must not always be law, but try doing it in a calm and cool way because when you raise your voice or try to fight back, you are escalating the issue at hand, and this might give your partner a reason to end the topic of conversation abruptly especially when they know you are right and they have nothing to say.

A lady showing patience because of her controlling boyfriend

3. Don’t make hasty decisions: 

 Don’t be in a rush or take any hasty decisions which might lead to regret and unlock deeper levels of pain. Your partner already had these controlling issues way before they met you, so they can’t just change overnight. You need to be patient and try to understand where he is coming from. Take it one step at a time and let your partner see your side step by step.

4. Be independent:

When you are not independent and cannot stand on your own two feet, then you would be controlled. If you let your partner know that your entire existence depends on him, then you are in for real trouble. If he knows he has the upper hand, he will control you more and more, that’s why it is okay for you to have a life outside of the relationship. It is also okay for you to have things in your life that you are proud of. If you are independent, your partner will respect and value you. If your partner knows that your world does not move around him, he will try to tone down his controlling nature.

5. Have confidence: 

One way to handle a controlling boyfriend is by not letting him see you are not confident. You should be a hundred percent confident around him. Do not let him take you for granted or show weakness around him. When you make a decision you know is great for you after proper analysis, or when you say something you know is right, stick with it. And do not let him or anyone make you do otherwise, especially when you know changing your mind only soothes their selfish desires and ego. When your boyfriend knows you are always low on confidence around him, he’ll use that part of you to control you.

6. Try counseling:

When you try to resolve the issue on your own and it is not working, then you should seek outside help. You both can go for counseling. Talking to a therapist together can help you both navigate the issues at hand. You both can talk to a third neutral person who will help you both by shedding more light on his controlling tendencies. The therapist might help him get to the root of his problems and at the same time help you understand where he is coming from.

7. Teach him to become a better boyfriend:

When it comes to some men, they do not always do these things intentionally. It might just be a result of how he was brought up, or as a result of something that happened to him while growing up or in a previous relationship. So if you can see past his controlling nature, and dig into his kind and loving ways, then you should hold his hand and teach him how to do better. Teach him how not to be too controlling, teach him the importance of communication, and let him understand that he cannot always have his way in all situations.

8. Try to always be truthful:

Lying to an insecure and controlling person will not help the situation, so you should always try to tell him the truth at all times. Try to help him feel secure in your love for him. Lying to him can trigger his controlling behavior especially if you get caught in the lie.

9. Don’t give in to his demands:

When your partner is controlling, do not give him room to continue. Try as much as possible to stop him, do not let him push you around, or give him the upper hand. Let him know you are not happy with the situation at hand. If he still tries to control you sometimes, just let him know that he is behaving in a controlling manner and his attitude is uncalled for and unkind.

Can a controlling boyfriend change?

Sometimes you might worry a lot, you might even think of ending the relationship for fear of your boyfriend never changing. Well, a man who loves you will change for the better. He can learn how to be less controlling and how to sometimes take no for an answer. It may not happen overnight, neither will it happen in the blink of an eye. You have to be patient and loving. You have to be ready to teach and show him all his flaws, then the change will come gradually.


It will never be easy or safe to be in a controlling relationship because most times controlling people can turn abusive when they cannot seem to have their ways, but you can learn to handle them. And if he shows signs of improving or he is willing to commit to ways to help him get better, then you should stick by him and help him grow into a more empathetic being that will bring you growth, peace, and restore your confidence. But if your man is not willing to put in the work to become a better person, then you should not be in such a bond for the sake of your health.

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